Harbour Ferries vessels shuttle passenger across the Inner Harbour with the Legislature and the historic CPR Steamship Terminal building

Saanich backs Maritime Museum proposal ahead of PCC decision on CPR Steamship Terminal

Recommendation came from Saanich’s Arts, Culture and Heritage committee.

The Provincial Capital Commission is expected to select an occupant Wednesday (Nov. 30) for the CPR Steamship Terminal building, but Saanich councillors got involved in the decision-making process Monday night.

A recommendation brought forward by Coun. Vic Derman to support the Maritime Museum of B.C.’s proposal to move their museum from Bastion Square to the Inner Harbour was passed unanimously by Saanich council Monday night.

“It’s kinda coming forward at the 11th hour, with an announcement expected this week, but if council supports the recommendation because we feel it’s one that is meritorious, it will be on the record,” Derman said before Monday’s vote.

The recommendation came from Saanich’s Arts, Culture and Heritage committee, which Derman chairs.

“One of our goals is to promote cultural events and cultural institutions and heritage and history throughout Saanich, but also – to a degree – there’s a crossover throughout the region,” he said. “The committee was very keen to support the proposal. We thought it would only add to the tourist attractions downtown, and it would add to the preservation of heritage and culture in the region.”

Along with the Maritime Museum, there are three other applicants in the running for tenancy of the building, at 463 Belleville St., which housed the Royal London Wax Museum until September 2010.

The other proposals include one from Moxie’s Classic Grill for a restaurant, one from the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority for a restaurant and retail space, and one from Bob Wright for a high-tech historical attraction.

The Provincial Capital Commission’s board of directors will select one Wednesday morning. From there, staff will begin lease negotiations.

Saanich councillors Dean Murdock and Wayne Hunter sit on the PCC’s board of the directors and stepped away from the council discussion Monday night to avoid any conflict of interest.

“We’ve been presented with the content of each proposal and the summaries from the screening panel, and we’ll receive a recommendation from the advisory panel on Wednesday and vote on it,” Murdock said. “I’ve been getting a lot of emails about wanting to see (the PCC approve) whichever proposal. I appreciate the interest that folks have, but the evaluation is being done by the advisory panel, not the board of directors.”

Derman acknowledges that, unlike Murdock and Hunter, the rest of Saanich council hasn’t seen the other proposals in full.

“I’m not privy to all the presentations that have been put before the PCC … but in my view the Maritime Museum seems the fullest proposal, the one that has the (longest) track record behind it.”

kslavin@saanichnews.com

– with files from Roszan Holmen

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